Cristiano Ronaldo has not had the best World Cup tournament this year. This wasn’t the case when he played in Russia in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. He scored a sensational hat-trick against 2010 World Cup winners Spain, topping it off with a beautiful hat-trick in the 88th minute. He also scored a bullet header against Morocco in Portugal‘s second group-stage match.
This year, the former Manchester United star has found it tough to get on the scoresheet. Despite getting to a good start against Ghana from the penalty spot, Ronaldo has failed to score in the other 2 group-stage games against Uruguay and South Korea. Will he be able to score his first-ever World Cup knockout goal against Morocco?
Cristiano Ronaldo left on the bench for the second game in a row
As we all know, Portugal head coach Fernando Santos made a huge decision to bench Ronaldo for the knockout game against Switzerland. It was one that left the soccer world baffled as Cristiano was undoubtedly their best chance to win the game, having previously scored a hat-trick against Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer in 2019. However, Goncalo Ramos, the player who replaced Ronaldo, scored a hat trick.
Not only did Fernando Santos bench Cristiano Ronaldo, but also decided to replace him with 21-year-old Goncalo Ramos who had yet to make his World Cup debut.
A bold managerial decision that paid off for Portugal 👏 pic.twitter.com/kKPMJHQSpL
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 6, 2022
It was the first time Ronaldo was on the bench for a World Cup game. Will that be the case for tonight’s game as well? Morocco has been absolutely exceptional during the tournament so far. They beat European giants Spain in the round of 16 on penalties. PSG fullback Achraf Hakimi chipped it down the middle to give Morocco the win against Spain.
Morocco boasts a solid defense with the likes of Hakimi, Roman Saiss, Noussair Mazraoui, and Nayef Aguerd. However, despite that, it looks like Santos has decided to leave Ronaldo on the bench once again. It will be the second game in a row that Ronaldo doesn’t start. Portugal’s head coach has kept his starting lineup as the same from the game against Switzerland.
OFFICIAL: Cristiano Ronaldo is on the bench for Portugal’s World Cup quarterfinal vs. Morocco 🚨 pic.twitter.com/JjVpWWxlWi
— B/R Football (@brfootball) December 10, 2022
Ronaldo will be watching from the sidelines once again as his country fights on the pitch. He interestingly claimed today that Portugal has already won the World Cup. Although it may be unusual for people to hear, it looks like Ronaldo is manifesting the win. In his tweet, the Portuguese skipper mentioned that the team will be aiming to repay their people with wins at the World Cup.